The trial of an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Drambi Vandi charged with Christmas Day killing of a Lagos-based lawyer, Mrs. Bolanle Raheem, last year continued on Wednesday.
A second prosecution witness, Mr. Fiyegha Ebimine, who is a police officer, testified at the Lagos State High Court sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS).
Ebimine was part of the three-man team led by Vandi from the Ajiwe police station who were conducting a stop and search operation under the Ajah Bridge on the day of the incident.
The witness, who was led in evidence by Onigbanjo, corroborated the account of the shooting by the first prosecution witness, Inspector Matthew Ameh, saying he also heard a “noise” shortly after the deceased and her husband slowly drove past him and Ameh in a Toyota Venza.
“One woman was in the passenger seat, a man was driving. I flagged the vehicle down. It didn’t stop. They passed me. I wondered why. He was not speeding. Ameh also flagged him down but he didn’t stop,” Ebimine said
He said shortly after, he heard “a gunshot from the back. I asked Ameh, ‘What is going on?’ A female passenger in the vehicle where the deceased was hit rushed to ASP Vandi and accused him of killing jet sister.”
The witness told the court that afterwards a crowd gathered and swooped on Vandi, brought him out of a Korope (commercial minibus) where he had run to hide and put him in the deceased’s car.
He said, “I was trying to find out what was going on. I called Vandi on the phone to find out. I said, ‘Oga, what happened?’ He said, ‘Wait.’”
He testified that Vandi’s response was the same when he called him again minutes later.
Onigbanjo: “As the Toyota Venza drove past, was there any threat to your life?”
Ebimine: “No, no, no, no.”
Onigbanjo: “As the Venza approached, was there any threat to the general public?
Ebimine: “No, they were peaceful there.”
The witness, who earlier stated that he was armed, denied firing his weapon.
During cross-examination, counsel to the defendant, Adetokunbo Odutola, told the court of his intention to visit the scene of the crime, he says this would help him understand the a count of the police officers better.
He also added that he was yet to receive the ballistics report for the weapon and ammuntion allegedly used by ASP Vandi.
Justice Harrison advised the lawyer to make a formal application and adjourned till Thursday Jan the 26th for continuation of trial.
Bolanle, 41, an award winning property lawyer and real estate consultant with over 10 years of call-to-bar experience was killed on Christmas Day while she was returning from an outing with her family members.
Tomorrow, Justice Ibironke Harrison will listen to the third and fourth prosecution witnesses, the deceased’s husband, Gbenga Raheem, and her sister.
On January 16th, the Lagos State Government commenced the prosecution of ASP Drambi Vandi for the Christmas Day shooting of the female lawyer, Bolanle Raheem.
The Attorney-General (AG) and Commissioner for Justice, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Moyo Onigbanjo, who personally led the prosecution arraigned Vandi on a one-count charge of murder.
The charge, which was filed on December 28th, three days after the incident, alleged that Vandi killed Raheem by shooting her in the chest, an offense contrary to Section 223 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
ASP Vandi pleaded not guilty.
At the proceedings on Wednesday, Vandi’s lawyer, Adetokunbo Odutola, completed his cross-examination of the first prosecution witness, Inspector Matthew Ameh, which he began on January 16th.
Ameh repeated his testimony that he was not armed on the day but he heard “a noise” indicating that Mrs. Raheem had been shot.
After his testimony, a second prosecution witness, another police inspector, Mr. Fiyegha Ebimine took the witness stand.